A new report on the worldwide persecution of Christians has been published by Open Doors USA, an organisation with more than 60 years’ experience in helping oppressed Christians.
The findings are sobering. One in every eight Christians in the world are under serious threat. Every day, eight Christians are killed for their faith. Every week 182 Christian churches or buildings are attacked.
The main culprits of this persecution are Communism, Islam, paranoid dictators as well as gangs or organised crime (as is the case in Columbia). Sometimes Christians persecute other denominations, as is occurring in Eritrea.
The top three deadliest countries for Christians are North Korea, Afghanistan and Somalia. North Korea has topped the list since 2002. Here, the possession of a Bible could be enough to land a person in a labour camp, with the accompanying starvation, physical and mental abuse. Estimates are that up to 75,000 Christians are languishing within North Korea’s penal system.
Conversion from Islam is illegal in Afghanistan. Those who convert are seen as traitors to the community and are often in danger of death. Radical Islam is also the cause of persecution in Somalia, where exposed Christians are reported to have been killed on the spot.
The Open Doors report urges Christians to pray for their beleaguered brothers and sisters in Christ, especially that their courage and faith may not fail. It is worth mentioning that the papal charity Aid to the Church in Need exists to support persecuted Christians in various ways.